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Friday Out-Takes: LJ Gets DQ'd in KC

Every Friday, John Cockrell will offer up his perspective on the latest NFL developments that catch his eye. His views are his own, not those of the Patriots.


LJ Gets DQ'd in KC

No one likes a comeback story more than the good old US of A, and few are more willing to forgive and forget. (As long as the words "dog," "drown" and/or "electrocute" aren't involved.) Just this year we've seen sports figures such as MICHAEL "With friends like these..." PHELPS and ANDY "Misremembers" PETTITTE make their way out of controversy and back into the warm embrace of John Q. American sports fan. So, yeah, we're big on redemption. Which is what makes Kansas City running back LARRY JOHNSON so infuriating.

After a career marked by periodically spectacular, if often erratic, play, and a depth of immaturity that would make the cast of VH1's *Tool Academy *blush, LJ recently became just the latest NFL-er to lay claim to our "puts the twit in Twitter" mantle. Following Sunday's game, Johnson tweeted about his father, the now mortified (we're guessing) defensive line coach under Joe Paterno at suddenly not-so Happy Valley. According to the mercurial Penn State alum, dear old dad's "got more creditentials {sic} than most of these pro coaches," which doesn't sound so bad until you fast-forward to the next part: "My father played for the coach from 'rememeber {sic} the titans.' Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley {sic}. Our coach. Nuthn."

Given those hard-to-miss swipes at Chiefs head coach TODD HALEY and an apparent, chronic insistence on wedging extra vowels into polysyllabic words, it would appear that Johnson is "sic, sic, sic," at least when it comes to rudimentary manners of behavior AND speech. It probably goes without saying that he also seems a little too impressed by his dad's association with "Rememeber" the Titans, a movie so saccharine it makes the end of Big seem as raw as the cold open of Narc. (It also goes without saying that he wasn't impressed enough to spell the title right.)

As if openly dissing his coach were not enough, LJ also felt the need to drop homophobic F-bombs on Twitter, which dovetailed nicely with his locker room demand that some media "get your [homophobic F-bomb] asses out of here." Now, unless the reporters in question were shepherding a drove of donkeys with a bundle of sticks on their back, it's not exactly shocking that folks got offended. And it's not exactly shocking that people are sick of your act, Larry. Not just the pouting and helter-skelter play, but the various assaults you've been charged with FOUR TIMES since the last, putrid installment of the *Matrix Trilogy * came out. Women in mini-skirts and Kabul town square get treated better than they do when LJ goes bar-hopping in KC.

So, as much as we all like a good redemption story - yours, ours, anyone's - as much as we're suckers for somebody down on his luck finding his way back to the top...we are officially giving up on you, Larry Johnson. Just like DICK VERMEIL did several years ago after he said you needed to "take the diapers off." Just like Haley, SCOTT PIOLI and THE HUNT FAMILY have, at least temporarily, now that their organization has given you a two-week time-out for conduct detrimental to the team. (Nice work, gentlemen. Consider nixing texting privileges, as well.)

Larry Johnson, you are irretrievably a moron and, apparently, a bigot. And for that - given your track record - there can be no comeback. (Too harsh? Check this out: "It is our belief that the action did not warrant the discipline unilaterally imposed by the Chiefs. We'll be asking for an expedited hearing, and hopefully we can work out a positive, mutual resolution with the Chiefs. If not, we'll defer to the arbitrator's decision. Larry's desire is to get back to his teammates as soon as he can." That's Johnson's agent, PETER SCHAFFER, in a statement to Pro Football Talk, late Wednesday night. We suspect Larry's never-before-seen desire to "get back to his teammates" is matched, if not exceeded, by his desire to get back that half a mill in game checks.)

The Black & Gold Go Green

In the wake of New England's victorious trip to Merry Old England, Out-Takes was reminded of another NFL story from points United Kingdom-ish. As reported here in March, just months into his administration First Fan in Chief BARACK OBAMA nominated Steelers Chairman DAN ROONEY as the next U.S. Ambassador to IRELAND. Over the summer, Rooney was confirmed via "voice vote" which, after a little wonky recon, we learned has more to do with congressional protocol than Ryan Seacrest. (Who knew?)

Out-Takes tends not to spare Pittsburgh, its football team or its legion of gritty fans who, for some odd reason, choose to burnish their time-worn steel-tough rep by waving little, yellow kerchiefs. (A post-game "Where your towels at?!" may be the most succinct "shut up" ever to escape the mouth of still-sort-of beloved ex-Patriot and cocky knee-injury sufferer DEION BRANCH.) That said, in this case an exception is surely warranted.

Now, it's worth noting, an Ambassadorship to a picturesque country where your native tongue is their native tongue, and where the question, "Do you have (name-of-any-beer-ever) on tap?" is functionally redundant - that's a pretty sweet gig. But still...kudos all around to the Rooney clan. Just because it's a glamorous (and, we're guessing, easy) position doesn't mean it's not legit public service and a tremendous honor. It reflects well on the man, the team, the city and the league. So let's all raise a glass to the not-really-all-that-new Ambassador to Ireland. ('Cause, ya know, when in Rome...)

Mr. Rooney, we hope your jaunts through Merchant Ivory-style, emerald-tinted countryside, along with the nasty sop of cabbage-and-potato concoctions presumably served at state dinners there, will help exorcise the bittersweet memory of your 2005 Super Bowl champs, for whom "Stealers" would have been a more apt spelling, at least according to MIKE HOLMGREN, SEAN LOCKLEAR and EVERYONE ELSE WATCHING THE DAMN GA-

Sorry. Maybe you noticed, Out-Takes still doesn't have the hang of this whole "diplomacy" thing. There goes our shot at the sop of cabbage-and-potato concoctions...

Blooper Reel

~ Out-Takes can be a little bullheaded at times; as full of baseless, blustery pronouncements as the next guy (or, say, head coach). For instance, we're convinced that WADE PHILLIPS will never win a Super Bowl because he hugs his players way too often. ("Way too often" = more times than never.) So bear that in mind when we say that if the Jets fail to win a championship in the REX RYAN Era, we'll look back on one quotation in particular with a smug, knowing nod:

"I think we're a good football team. We just have had some tough breaks.* The fact that we're in a game when you throw six interceptions is pretty good*." (Nice bounce-back W against the hapless, punchy Raiders, j-e-t-s, but...UGH. That quote gets you canned from any decent high school job.)

~ Top "KIRSCH WORDS" MOMENT OF THE WEEK came about an hour prior to the PATS-BUCS kickoff in Wembley Stadium: "Liverpool beat ManU 2-0. First loss of the day for the Glazers." Keep it up, Fred. For those not tuning in, check it out - - every Sunday.

~ Can't imagine we heard this right, TOM "Real Golden Balls" (© The London Times) BRADY, but on WEEI Tuesday it sure sounded a lot like you hadn't seen The Godfather: Part II until the flight home from England. And you thought that off-season ICE CREAM CONE pic was embarrassing.

~ BEST EXCUSE FOR PARAPHRASING A COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST JOKE: This Sunday's upcoming tilt between the '09 LIONS and the team trying to be a carbon-copy of the '08 version, the winless ST. LOUIS RAMS. We wouldn't record this game with BEA ARTHUR'S TIVO.

~ Can someone please explain why MARK SANCHEZ scarfing down a hot dog on the sideline in Oakland last week has been deemed a "controversy?" On Wednesday, to quell..."Oscar Mayer-gate" or whatever, the guy had to donate 500 hot dogs to a local soup kitchen - which is great and all, we're pro-soup-kitchen-hot-dog-donation - but, honestly, these made-up affronts have to stop. The kid had a bad stomach prior to the game and hadn't eaten any solid food. So he had a hot dog. Who cares? And hey, NFL MEDIA, two quick questions: Where did you post the sign-up sheet for Lindsay Lohan's Mean Girls fantasy camp and when on Earth is it over?

~ Out-Takes's REAL HEADLINE OF THE WEEK comes courtesy of USA TODAY: "Vikings Coach Brad Childress Dresses in Drag as Flight Attendant on Trip to Pittsburgh." Hard to imagine we won't have more on this in the coming weeks, but we did want to quickly point out that this "face-painter lame" move looks even worse in the bright glare of LOSING THE GAME. Note to Brad: Next time you feel like channeling your inner Bosom Buddy, wait 'til you're playing a lesser team than the defending champs.

~ We don't want to say JAMARCUS RUSSELL is an absolutely terrible football player, but we will say this: It's not a good sign when you can be described as "a poor man's BYRON LEFTWICH."

~ CEDRIC BENSON, on the other hand, is playing like a man obsessed with finally living up to the RICKY WILLIAMS 2.0 hype. After a week of claiming the Bears tried to blackball him following his release last season, Benson put his running where his mouth was, to the tune of 189 yards and a touchdown. We hear payback's a...something, and on Sunday Cedric made JAY CUTLER and the Bears his.

~ On Sunday, Panthers running back JONATHAN STEWART and Bills rookie safety JAIRUS BYRD held a mini-reunion at a key moment in the game. As the Bills stuffed Stewart on a red-zone 4th & short, Byrd did a nice job cleaning up, helping his team hold a then 7-2 lead. We mention this because Stewart and Byrd were college roommates at Oregon, which we learned while being, we're pretty sure, the only people watching that telecast. Byrd, by the way, might be the best DB to hit the AFC East since DARRELE REVIS brought his blanket coverage to Giants Stadium. Helluva player.

And finally...

Just this: Go. Phillies.

John Cockrell is a screenwriter, whose other work has run the gamut from "Sesame Street Parents Magazine" to Playboy TV's "The Weekend Flash." (He figures everything else is pretty much in-between.)

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